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Too Much Coffee May Not be Good During Pregnancy

For most of us, the day starts off with a cup of coffee. This dark hot beverage has been consumed for centuries and every so often someone questions whether this mild stimulant is good for our health. Many studies have been carried out to try and link coffee consumption to heart disease and various cancers with few consistent results. Coffee is the major source of caffeine for many people and it is the caffeine that often is suspected as the cause of health problems. People in the United States average over one and a half cups of coffee per day. Recently, a Swedish group reported that a daily intake of 100 milligrams of caffeine, or about as much as is contained in 1 cup of coffee, is enough caffeine to cause early miscarriages.


A team lead by Dr. Sven Cnattingius studied a group of women who had had miscarriages between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy and compared them to a group of women who did not have miscarriages. Several factors were investigated including age of the mother, smoking, whether the fetus was normal chromosomally and caffeine consumption. Results appeared to differ depending on the smoking habits of the mother. For the non-smokers, more spontaneous miscarriages occurred when the mother consumed more than 100 mg of caffeine per day than if her consumption was less than 100 mg. This risk increased as the amount of caffeine consumed each day increased. These relationships were not found for the mothers who were smokers.

More research will have to be done to confirm these initial findings and a biochemical mechanism will have to be found to link caffeine to misscarriages. However, in the meantime women who are pregnant should always be aware that anything they eat may influence their developing fetus.

Sources of Caffeine in the diet
Food Milligrams of caffeine
coffee - 1 cup: 90-150
instant coffee - 1 cup: 60-80
tea - 1 cup: 30-70
cola drink - 1 can: 35-70
milk chocolate bar - 28 g: 15

Chemical Structure of Caffeine

3D Structure


Caffeine Intake and the Risk of First-Trimester Spontaneous Abortion

N Engl J Med 2000,343:1839-1845

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